Netherlands: Muslim homosexuals face problems

Netherlands: Muslim homosexuals face problems

Many Muslims lead a double life. During the day they're married and are fathers, for example, and in the evenings, in a cafe, they show their homosexuality.  This according to Emir Belatoui, of Secret Garden, which stands for Muslim gays, bisexuals and transsexuals.

Many immigrant youth have problems if it's found out that they prefer people of their own sex.  "It happens that they're sent back to their land of origin, they may not go outside anymore, or are married off in order to solve the problem," says the founder of Secret Garden.

Muslim families should learn to speak about sexuality, he says.  "Homosexual youth should be able to speak about their inclinations with their parents."  The organization was founded last December.  They are organizing a debate-evening Thursday, October 29th in Amsterdam.

His organization supports the interests of gays, but also gives guidance about issues such as HIV and AIDS.  Addi tonally they have hours when people can come for help in practical problems.  The organization also organized discussion meetings several times a year.  Thursday the subject would be homosexuality and upbringing in immigrant families.

Many religions have the tendency to ban homosexuality, says Belatoui.  "But nowhere, neither in the Koran, does it say that love between people of the same sex is forbidden.  That taboo is cultural, but should be changed."  He says he doesn't seek confrontation with imams, for example.  "We don't want to shock or provoke.  In this way we won't reach our goal, but we do enter into talks.  A first step should than be that we learn to accept each other."

Many councilors have already signed up to the debate evening, for example, from the Amsterdam districts.  "But also regular people.  And it's precisely them that we'd like to meet," says Belatoui.

Source: Telegraph (Dutch)

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